PB Jaya Raya and PB Tangkas Specs were the latest ones to clinch semi-final spots in the women’s and men’s divisions, respectively, in Wednesday action at the 2013 Djarum Badminton Superliga.
By Don Hearn. Photos: Ira Ratnati (live)
With the semi-finalists from Group Y already decided, PB Jaya Raya added its name to the list, joining Unisys as the qualifiers from Group X. On Wednesday evening, Jaya Raya beat PB Mutiara 3-2 to avoid a 3-way tie at the bottom of the group.
However, the Indonesian team was not able to count on a point from their imported star, Japan’s #1 singles shuttler Minatsu Mitani, who fell tamely to the opposing import star Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.
In fact, Mitani has only won one match this week and the team had to rely instead on its doubles prowess. Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Anneke Feinya Agustin (pictured), in particular, have not been beaten this week and they turned in a one-hour performance yesterday, beating Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah / Melvira Oklamona in three games to draw Jaya Raya level before Belaetrix Manuputy took it home with the expected win over 17-year-old Hana Ramadhini.
Jaya Raya now faces PB Djarum in the semi-finals. The Group Y leaders actually dropped their final match to PB Jaya Raya Suryanaga, helped in part by the unexpected loss by Tai Tzu Ying to Lindaweni Fanetri. Juliane Schenk, however, scored another one-sided win – this time over Japanese veteran Eriko Hirose – and is the only foreign women’s singles player to finish group play undefeated.
“I am able to find my rhythm here, so that i can play well,” said Schenk. “I am happy become the first singles player for PB Djarum, because for the team event, the first point is on of the most important point, I will try my best in every game.
“I have never met Mitani before, but the Japanese players have speed, power, and stamina, but they are lacking in height and I guess they will have to work hard to play against me.”
In the men’s division, PB Tangkas Specs silenced PB Mutiara Bandung to set up a final match against Suryanaga to decide the winner of Group A. However, what appeared to be a cake-walk on paper turned out to be a hard-fought battle against Mutiara’s band of relative unknowns.
To begin with, world #8 Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam was upset in two games by Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo. Then Thai imports Maneepong Jongjit / Nipitphon Puangpuapech did kick off the point accumulation by beating Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Yohanes Rendy Sugiarto but they had to go the distance before finally winning 16-21, 21-15, 25-23.
By the time Simon Santoso (pictured) wrapped up his match, the overall result seemed clear but world #28 Gideon Marcus Fernaldi / Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankarnariya were still anything but convincing in their 55-minute, three-game win over Andrei Adistia / Hardianto.
“If we can win the game tomorrow, why not?” said Tangkas manager Hendry Saputra. “If we’re trying to keep our stamina, it means that we will be giving the win to our opponents. It is better for us to win the game if we are ready, so that we can be more sure, if we had to meet them again in the final.”
The standings in Group B are still much more open. Thursday afternoon’s battle between PB SGS PLN and the Malaysia Tigers will definitely decide the winner of the group. However, PB Musica – which sat Lee Chong Wei yesterday and fell to hitherto winless Tonami – could still force a three-way tie for second place if they can beat PB Jaya Raya in the morning session on Day 5, but they must again try to do it without Lee Chong Wei, who is not in the line-up.
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